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Understanding video quality when streaming

Posted by radio On October - 31 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

It’s really frustrating when streaming video goes fuzzy and pixelated or sometimes stops playing altogether. Why does this happen, and why does it seem worse at peak times?

 

Starting with the basics, streaming video is delivered over the internet. Every few seconds, our streaming apps test the speed of the viewer’s internet connection and based on that we send higher or lower resolution video packets. Put simply, a slow connection generally means lower video quality and a faster connection supports higher video quality. If the speed is really slow, the video will stop altogether (the dreaded buffering spinning wheel).

My video quality was fine, but as soon as the big game started it fell apart – so the problem is clearly with your service, right? 

We plan ahead for big games and make sure we’ve got enough capacity, so no that isn’t likely to be the cause. The simplest explanation for video quality falling during high demand times is congestion downstream from our servers, and there could be a number of factors causing that.

An example of how congestion affects someone connecting via mobile is that lots of people are accessing the same mobile base station at the same time (e.g. as the game starts) and because the base station has limited capacity, the quality of the mobile connection drops.

We use world-class CDN (content distribution network) providers like Akamai, and these companies specialise in delivering the highest possible video stream to the end-user. Under extremely high load situations, even CDN companies can run into capacity constraints or can run into bottlenecks elsewhere in the system. More information on this here.

That’s rubbish! YouTube is fine but DStv Now looks terrible, so clearly the problem is with your service. 

Great point! The key here is supplying pre-recorded content is different from supplying live content. In the case of YouTube or Showmax or Netflix, shows can be stored (the technical term is ‘cached’) close to the customer. In the case of live content, we’re taking the stream from Japan and distributing it in South Africa without the same ability to pre-load it as close as possible to the customer, so any bottlenecks downstream from our servers can have an impact on video quality. The other obvious difference is with YouTube or Showmax or Netflix, people aren’t all watching exactly the same thing at the same time – which presents a whole bunch of technical challenges.

So are you saying you can’t or won’t fix it?

Live streaming with huge numbers of concurrent users is a technical challenge that video services worldwide are grappling with – if it were as simple as just increasing capacity we’d most definitely have done that long ago. But we’re not backing down – we’re working with content distribution networks and others, and we are making headway.

What should I do?

To test if the issue is related to your ISP, one approach is to temporarily switch to mobile data (or to a fixed connection if you’re currently on mobile) and see if there is a change in quality. Obviously the other connection may also be congested but certainly if the quality improves you’ll have an indication that it may be worth speaking to the ISP or changing to another ISP.

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Season 5 of Lockdown, South Africa’s favourite prison drama, started production last week in Johannesburg, where it’s mostly shooting at Constitution Hill, the historic prison complex where the likes of Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Albertina Sisulu served time.

Every season of Lockdown introduces a new star. This time it’s Sophie Lichaba, aka Sophie Ndaba, who became a household name in South Africa during her two-decade-long starring role as the feisty receptionist Queen Moroka in the SABC1 soapie Generations. 

 

The multi-award-winning actress joins one of the most impressive casts on South African television: at the SAFTAs this year, four of the six Drama acting nominations for women went to Lockdown cast members: Dawn Thandeka King won Best Actress as Mazet, ahead of her co-star Zola Nombona as Monde (and International Emmy nominee Thuso Mbedu), while Lorcia Cooper won Best Supporting Actress as Tyson, ahead of her co-star Pamela Nomvete as Governor Deborah Banda.

 

Since losing a noticeable amount of weight last year due to diabetes, Sophie’s been reported dead on social media repeatedly, most recently as she started filming Lockdown last week.

 

The SAFTA winner is unfazed by the fake news, saying, “I’m just excited to be tackling such a challenging role on one of the biggest shows in the country.”

Every episode of Lockdown has trended on Twitter, so Sophie’s new character on the groundbreaking series will give social media something better to talk about on 31 January 2020, when Season 5 will premiere, only on Showmax.

 

“We haven’t seen Sophie in a while on South African television,” says Lockdown creator Mandla N, who is still directing every episode of the hit show. “But you could have said the same about Lorcia or Pamela when we cast them, and they’ve both reclaimed their places among the biggest stars in South Africa.”

 

Notorious for its cliffhangers, plot twists and emotional rollercoasters, Lockdown takes viewers into the cells and offices of Thabazimbi Women’s Correctional Facility.

 

As Season 5 picks up, Deborah is under pressure from The Department of Correctional Services, after one death too many at the prison. Arch-rivals Mazet and Tyson are still running the prison yard together, for now.  And Monde is trying to make things right with Vicky (Lauren Jenae), while worrying about her sister Katlego (Natasha Thahane), who’s been transferred to Kgotsong Asylum.

 

SAFTA winners Linda Sebezo and Nomsa Buthelezi are also back as fan favourites Maki and Slenda, while the multi-award-winning Patricia Boyer returns as the hilarious but dangerous Sue.

 

Produced by Black Brain Pictures, Lockdown was the most awarded drama at this year’s SAFTAs, taking home five awards, including Best Drama.

Lockdown is moving from Mzansi Magic, so binge-watch Season 5, only on Showmax, on 31 January 2020. In the meantime, you can catch up on the first four seasons here. 

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Why TV is still the biggest show

Posted by radio On October - 21 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

Despite the proliferation of the internet, TV still remains widely popular in South Africa

• Over 90% of South Africans still watch live TV*
• Local soap operas, reality TV and sports continues to enthral the nation*
• The appetite for bigger, better screens is strong

 

From spellbinding soapies to edge-of-your-seat sporting moments, the beloved TV continues to entertain generations of South Africans. Living rooms in South Africa sometimes feel like arenas filled with an audience waiting to be amused, amazed and astounded. This is why the market for larger more immersive TV experiences is so significant. (do we have/need a SS stat?). An incredible example of these in-demand TV’s is Samsung’s 2019 QLED TV line-up, which features more screen size options, stunning picture quality, dazzling colours from every angle, exciting new design elements and intuitive smart TV upgrades.

 

“As family entertainment continues to evolve along with modern viewing habits, we’ve focused on the use of pioneering technology and AI to create unparalleled and personalised viewing experiences. The results are astounding,” says Nithia Pillay, Director of Consumer Electronics at Samsung South Africa

 

Here are a few good reasons why TV is still the biggest show in South Africa:

 

TV has Authority

 

These days information is everywhere. But television has a particular authourity. People know what they see on TV has been verified, produced and created by professionals. This is why television remains the most popular and trusted platform for news, culture, sports and entertainment.

 

TV Creates Communities

 

Great television programmes create communities. TV shows, live events and news bind people together and elicit reactions on social networks.

 

TV Inspires

 

Television is an amazing educational tool. It gives us a different perspective on diverse cultures, promotes tolerance and global understanding of international issues. Through current affairs, discovery, lifestyle, cooking shows and children’s programmes, television inspires scientific and cultural curiosity.

 

TV Scores Big

 

Without television, professional sport would not be the same. Millions enjoy watching live sport every week, in ever-higher picture quality, and enjoy the sense of unity that sports creates.

 

Technology is a GameChanger

 

Intelligent TV’s can now produce a picture that’s amazingly real. With Samsung’s ground-breaking 8K QLED every scene is amazingly vivid and real. It’s like 3D without the glasses. Powered by Samsung’s proprietary Quantum Processor, the QLED range has more colours than the human eye can see, infinite details and optimised audio you see, feel and hear as if the match has come to life in front of you. Additionally, as you watch, it analyses what’s playing and automatically fine-tunes the picture and sound to your TV space. Which means you’re able to hear and feel the stadium erupt with celebration during the biggest moments. Sports Season has just got a lot more riveting.

 

“The QLED line-up brings together innovative feature enhancements and exciting content and service partnerships to deliver a truly ground-breaking viewing experience and unprecedented value,” concludes Nithia Pillay, Director of Consumer Electronics at Samsung South Africa.

 

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Samsung Galaxy Fold Sells Out in South Africa

Posted by radio On October - 15 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

The highly anticipated Galaxy Fold, a new foldable device creating a new mobile category, is clearly a hit with South Africans. The first batch released has already sold out with pre-order sales. Samsung South Africa is currently working on increasing stock levels to keep up with demand. Even after a delayed-release, there is clearly an appetite for this pioneering device. The Galaxy Fold officially goes on sale in South Africa on 18 October 2019.

Galaxy Fold features the world’s first 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display, which folds into a compact device with a cover display. Galaxy Fold offers a powerful new way to multitask, watch videos, play games, and more – bringing to life new experiences and possibilities years in the making.

 

“Samsung is proud to introduce a premium foldable device, that goes beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone,” said Cambridge Mokanyane, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung South Africa. “The pre-order sales are indicative of the public’s affinity for technology that transcends the norm.”

 

A Smartphone. A Tablet. Folded into One.

Galaxy Fold is in a category of its own. It delivers a new kind of mobile experience allowing users to do things they couldn’t do with an ordinary smartphone. Users now have the best of both worlds; a compact device that unfolds to reveal Samsung’s largest-ever smartphone display. Galaxy Fold brings together material, engineering and display innovations, developed over eight years following the debut of Samsung’s first flexible display prototype in 2011.

 

For more information about Galaxy Fold, please visit https://www.samsung.com/za/

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Samsung Innovation Campus Launched

Posted by radio On October - 12 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

Samsung has launched the latest of its global citizenship program for young adults, Samsung Innovation Campus (SIC), in Russia. Under the company’s corporate citizenship vision of Enabling People, launched in February of this year, this new program will offer IT education to help young adults around the globe gain academic and professional skills useful for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Education for Future Generations

 

The company had been helping educate young people all over the world through programs such as Samsung Junior SW Academy, Samsung SW Academy for Youth and Samsung Tech Institute, the last of which has been running since 2013, providing valuable experience for over 110,000 young people in more than 30 countries. Following the successes of these programs, Samsung Tech Institute has evolved and grown and is now launching under Samsung Innovation Campus as part of the company’s new corporate citizenship vision.

 

SIC offers young people the opportunity to enhance their employment prospects and gain a practical education in technologies through both classroom learning and, from 2020, online-based courses that can lead to official certifications. The skills at the core of SIC curriculum are rooted in technologies which are keys to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), big data, cloud platforms and mobile platforms. Additional programs have also been established to help the participants build their skills in creativity, communication and teamwork for future employment.

 

Curating Collaborative Experiences

 

SIC will provide tailored curriculums in different countries and work closely with local schools and NGOs in order to operate these programs effectively and ensure the experiences offered by the courses are uniquely customised for the local participants.

 

“Samsung Innovation Campus aims to empower a generation of problem solvers by equipping them with future-proof skills and giving them practical understanding of the technologies that will shape their future and enrich sustainable growth of the world,” said Hlubi Shivanda, Director: Business Innovation Group and Corporate Affairs at Samsung South Africa.

 

SIC begun on October 1 in Russia, where previous Samsung programs such as Samsung IT Academy and Samsung IT School have been well-received. The new initiative built on the successes of these curriculums will gradually expand to Vietnam, Spain, Indonesia, Chile, Thailand, and other countries in the near future.

 

SIC is a part of Samsung’s new vision for its global citizenship initiative, Enabling People. Launched in February, this vision reflects Samsung’s commitment to helping the future generation fulfil their true potential and work towards a brighter future for themselves and their communities. Since the launch, the company is continuously working to build on and expand the programs it offers to young people all over the world.

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Fresh off the heels of the launch of the Galaxy Note10, Samsung is celebrating its continuing partnership Fortnite developer Epic Games with the announcement of an exclusive in-game Glow skin available for almost all Galaxy device owners1. The design of the Glow skin is derived from the Galaxy Note10’s signature Aura Glow colour, created with free-thinking millennials in mind and inspired by the reflective light of a prism.

 

Available now, the new Glow skin joins an expanding roster of Samsung’s exclusive Fortnite content. Last year the two companies celebrated the game’s Android launch with the Galaxy Skin available only on the Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy TabS4. The partnership then expanded earlier this year with the launch of the iKONIK skin and accompanying dance move, Love Scenario, which was developed with K-Pop star Jung Chanwoo of the band iKON for the Galaxy S10.

 

“Offered on a wider range of devices, the new Glow skin will be based off last year’s Fate skin but will include a new colour combination based on the Galaxy Note10’s Aura Glow colour. The partnership reflects Samsung’s growing focus on delivering users cutting-edge gaming experiences and the global success of Fortnite, “says Justin Hume, Director: Integrated Mobility at Samsung South Africa.

 

Since launching in 2017, the game has become a cultural phenomenon, reaching more than 250 million registered players at the beginning of 2019 and generating over $2 billion worldwide across all platforms. The partnership provides Samsung with store exclusivity, with the Android version of the game only available through the Galaxy Store and the Epic Games website, a recognition of Samsung’s devices as the gold standard of mobile gaming. The Galaxy Note10 is the company’s latest and greatest offering, with a suite of features that make training to be the next Fortnite world champion a breeze.

The Galaxy Note10’s Game Booster, an AI-based predictive performance enhancer, analyses your playing habits, as well as data from publishers including Epic Games, to optimise your gaming experience depending on your unique individual needs. For those into graphic intense RPGs, Game Booster will optimise your device for better graphics and frame rates, while casual gamers will get a boost in battery performance so you can game for your entire commute with plenty of juice leftover. On top of these software innovations, the Galaxy Note10 also has significant hardware improvements. Equipped with a powerful, smarter battery that optimises power consumption based on individual usage patterns, you never have to worry about sacrificing game time for battery life.

 

For those graphic-intense games that tend to heat up your phone, the Galaxy Note10 also comes with the world’s slimmest vapour chamber. At just 0.35t, the ultra-thin vapour chamber fits within the device’s thin, sleek design and regulates heat to stabilise your device and prevent frustrating lags caused by overheating.

 

 

Galaxy Note10 users can take full advantage of their carrier’s fastest network speeds, ensuring you always get a smooth experience gaming on the go. Combined with a powerful CPU and GPU for rendering those stunning graphics, Samsung has signified that mobile gaming is central to its design.

 

1Samsung Galaxy Note10, Note10+S10e, S10, S10+Note9S9, S9+, Note8, S8, S8+, S7, S7 edge, Tab S6, Tab S4, Tab S3, A9 (2018), A70 and A80

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MTF Class of 2020 start their first day

Posted by radio On October - 8 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

Hot on the heels of the graduating class of 2019, the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academies in Nairobi, Lagos and Lusaka are buzzing with excitement as the class of 2020 sit for their first day in class. The 60 students from 13 countries were chosen after a month-long process which shortlisted candidates from thousands of entries.

This year’s applicants were put through a rigorous interview and adjudication process by a group of leading film and television industry experts and the regional Academy Directors and represent the very best in young talent from across the region.

 

The 60 new students start the academic year with an orientation programme in partnership with Kenyatta University in Kenya, Pan-Atlantic University in Nigeria, the University of Zambia and the Henley Business School.

 

These academic partners have been onboard since the academies first opened their doors in October 2018 as part of MultiChoice Africa’s ground-breaking corporate shared value (CSV) initiative, the MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) aimed at igniting Africa’s creative industries through TV and filmmaking.

 

The second intake of students from Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be provided with training and hands-on experience in the film industry, with a focus on storytelling, production, audio and directing among other key areas.

 

The curriculum offers students the opportunity to learn directly from leading African and international industry experts, work on live sets of local TV productions and create original content aired on local M-Net channels across the MultiChoice platforms – DStv, GOtv and Showmax.

 

“It is a new year with new students. Different backgrounds and different expectations. For all of us to grow in our careers, we have had mentors in our journeys, we have also learnt a lot from each other and from life experiences. I hope that MTF provides all these to our new students,” says Njoki Muhoho, East Africa Academy Director.

 

The 60 aspiring filmmakers carry a lot of hope for the African continent in our quest to tell our stories that reflect who we are and how far we’ve come as storytellers. Femi Odugbemi, MTF West Africa Academy Director attests to this

We are very excited to welcome the Class of 2020 and to begin a new journey of discovery. We learn filmmaking by making films and that process of hands-on exposure and learning from the best industry leaders remains our path to infusing the passion of our students with creative power.

 

The MTF has over the past 12 months partnered with government, local and international film industry associations and partners to hone and sharpen the skills of emerging filmmakers and industry professionals and Berry Lwando, Southern Africa Academy Director feels that the past year has equipped the Academy Directors with great insights to produce the next generation of authentic storytellers.

 

The first year was a great learning curve and I’m excited for the Class of 2020 as they embark on their new journey. Their passion for filmmaking makes us wake up in the morning wanting to do more.” Here’s to the next class of authentic African storytellers!

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Phuthuma Nathi share exchange now open

Posted by radio On October - 1 - 2019 ADD COMMENTS

MultiChoice Group’s (MCG) offer to Phuthuma Nathi (PN) shareholders to exchange up to 20% of their Phuthuma Nathi shares for shares in MCG is now open. Phuthuma Nathi shareholders that choose to take up this offer will then hold shares in both PN and MCG.

 

 

Make sure that you fully-understand what this means to you as a Phuthuma Nathi shareholder so that you make an informed decision. More information on this offer is available on the Phuthuma Nathi website.

The offer closes at 2pm on 28 October 2019.

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Netflix Inc., the world’s leading Internet entertainment service, announced that a melodrama film Tune in for Love will launch globally on November 5, 2019.

Tune in for Love is a young couple’s love story, in which fate keeps pulling them together and pushing them apart again as they try to figure out life on their own, and with each other.

 

The film starts off in the year of 1994. Mi-su, played by Kim Go-eun (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God, Cheese in the Trap) works at a bakery, inherited from her mother. Hyeon-u, played by Jung Hae-in (One Spring Night, Something in the Rain) ends up working at the shop, and they slowly start to grow feelings for each other. Throughout the next decade, Mi-su and Hyeon-u continue to cross paths, but timing is not always in their favor.

 

 

Tune in for Love is a music-filled melodrama, with songs flowing through the years, triggering nostalgia and emotion. The film depicts fresh college graduates who are faced with an economic recession due to the Asian financial crisis of 1997. It also attempts to capture two sincere young adults who try to do their best to make it through those uncertain times.

 

 

Tune in for Love is directed by Jung Ji-woo (Heart Blackened, Eungyo), and written by Lee Sook-yun (One Fine Spring Day, On the Way to the Airport).

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The inaugural 16 members of the ICT Council were appointed by the Minister of Telecommunications & Postal Services on 23 September 2015 after being concurred by Cabinet, Cabinet Meeting of 23 September 2015. The appointed Councilors met for the first time on 1 October 2015 to constitute the ICT Council and adopted its first Constitution.

 

In terms of the Constitution of the ICT Council, the appointed Councilors serve a four-year term (First Term), renewable for a further four years (Second Term). The First Term of the ICT Council ends on 30 September 2019. “The ICT Council is preparing for the Second Term of Office. The ICT Council must be comprised of a minimum of 14 and a maximum of 16 appointed Councilors. The ICT Council currently is comprised of 15 appointed Councilors.” said Andile Tlhoaele, Chairperson of the ICT Council.

 

 

Second Term of Office of the B-BBEE ICT Sector Council begins on the 02 October 2019.

The ICT Sector comprises four ICT industry sub-sectors: Broadcasting, Information Technology, Telecommunications and Electronics.

 

 

The ICT Sector Council functions through five sub-committees;

1. Executive Committee, which comprises of the chairpersons of all the sub-committees, which is chaired by the Deputy Chairperson Councilor Pheladi Gwangwa
2. Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Committee chaired by Councilor Petronella Linders
3. Guidance and Monitoring Committee chaired by Councilor Adrian Schofield
4. Review and Amendment Committee chaired by Councilor Sara-Jane Capazario
5. Strategy, Governance, Risk & Funding Committee chaired by Councilor Lucky Masilela

 

 

 

The ICT Sector Council is responsible for developing, reviewing and publishing the B-BBEE
Amended ICT Sector Code (the ICT Sector Code). The ICT Sector Council is also mandated
to monitor the implementation of the ICT Sector Code and report its progress to Honourable
Minister Ms. Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Advisory Council on
BEE, Honourable Minister Ebrahim Patel and the B-BBEE Commissioner Ms. Zodwa Ntuli.

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